The gin tradition of Charles Tanqueray began on Vine Street in Bloomsbury in 1830. A pastor’s son who broke with tradition, his creation would certainly be a first ballot Gin-Hall-Of-Fame entrant (if ever there was such a thing). Continuously distilled since its invention, the brand has been owned by several big companies, and while it has been passed around it never lost any of its luster. To many people, Tanqueray London Dry Gin is London Dry-Gin; its signature green glass is gin.
With such long lasting success (and it’s still among the top 6 selling gins worldwide) comes some of the perils of being seen as “default.” In recent years, Tanqueray has marketed their flagship gin as something of a hyrbid of “prestige brand” (bringing it in competition with Tanqueray’s high end Tanqueray No. 10 Gin) and a “party with your friends gin.”
Today the brand is distilled at the massive Cameronbridge Distillery in Scotland and owned by Diageo. In Europe you’ll find it bottled at 43.1% ABV; in the US it’s a more assertive (and superior taste-wise in my opinion, especially for mixing) 47.3% ABV. In contrast the other gins, the botanicals are distilled immediately and not macerated prior. Secondly, it also does not use a concentrated botanical distillation which is diluted with neutral spirit after distillation. The botanical strength of the distillate is the botanical strength of the gin.
Nose: Juniper is the predominant character on the nose. I find that the juniper note in Tanqueray London Dry is perhaps the most signature characteristic of it, no other gin quite has that singular juniper note. There’s an intriguing intimation of citrus zest (intriguing because citrus is not a botanical) along with candied angelica stalk and licorice.
Flavor: The palate begins with juniper, but finishes with rich hints of baking spice including angelica root, cinnamon and coriander seed. The finish on the palate captures angelica/coriander in a way that suggests that top note of Bombay Sapphire to me.
Finish: Long and slightly warm, mostly spice-forward on the finish.
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